Senate rejects government-wide ban on abortion funding

Senate rejects government-wide ban on abortion funding
© Getty Images

The Senate rejected a bill on Thursday that would have permanently banned the use of federal funding for abortions.

The bill would have enshrined in law a long-standing provision that is tacked on to appropriations bills every year, forbidding the use of federal funds for abortions in programs like Medicaid.

It also would have banned ObamaCare subsidies for insurance plans that cover abortion. 

ADVERTISEMENT

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellEXCLUSIVE: Trump on reparations: 'I don't see it happening' Overnight Health Care — Sponsored by Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids — Trump issues order to bring transparency to health care prices | Fight over billions in ObamaCare payments heads to Supreme Court Hillicon Valley: Senate bill would force companies to disclose value of user data | Waters to hold hearing on Facebook cryptocurrency | GOP divided on election security bills | US tracking Russian, Iranian social media campaigns MORE (R-Ky.) teed up the largely symbolic vote for Thursday, one day ahead of the March for Life, the annual march against abortion that takes place in Washington.

The bill wasn't expected to pass, but Republicans typically schedule symbolic votes on abortion close to the dates for the March for Life and the anniversary of the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision. 

A vote to open debate on the bill failed 48-47, with 60 votes needed to begin debate. 

Sens. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsThe Hill's Morning Report - In exclusive interview, Trump talks Biden, Iran, SCOTUS and reparations Hillicon Valley: Senate bill would force companies to disclose value of user data | Waters to hold hearing on Facebook cryptocurrency | GOP divided on election security bills | US tracking Russian, Iranian social media campaigns Stephen King: 'It's time for Susan Collins to go' MORE (R-Maine) and Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiGOP lawmakers want Mulvaney sidelined in budget talks Overnight Defense: Officials brief Congress after Iran shoots down drone | Lawmakers fear 'grave situation' | Trump warns Iran | Senate votes to block Saudi arms sales | Bombshell confession at Navy SEAL's murder trial The 7 GOP senators who voted to block all or part of Trump's Saudi arms sale MORE (R-Alaska) broke with their party to vote against the measure while Democratic Sens. Bob CaseyRobert (Bob) Patrick CaseyThe Hill's Morning Report - Trump, Biden go toe-to-toe in Iowa Overnight Health Care: Biden infuriates abortion-rights groups with stance on Hyde Amendment | Trump tightens restrictions on fetal tissue research | Democrats plan event to scrutinize Trump's mental health The Hill's Morning Report - 2020 Dems, progressives preview anti-Biden offensive MORE (Pa.) and Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinRepublicans, Trump Jr. signal support for embattled West Virginia governor Critics say Interior's top lawyer came 'close to perjury' during Hill testimony The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by MAPRx — Trump takes heat for remarks on help from foreign governments MORE (W.V.) voted with Republicans.

Democrats criticized McConnell for holding a vote on the bill instead of voting on House-passed measures to end the government shutdown. 

"We know that a bill opening the government would pass the Senate, yet we're voting on a bill attacking women's health," tweeted Sen. Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayOvernight Health Care: Trump officials defend changes to family planning program | Senators unveil bipartisan package on health costs | Democrats pass T spending bill with HHS funds Chris Murphy may oppose bipartisan health bill unless it addresses ObamaCare 'sabotage' Key senators release bipartisan package to lower health care costs MORE (D-Wash.).

The vote illustrated how divided the new Congress is on the issue of abortion. 

Leaders of the House Pro-Choice Caucus vowed this week to end the Hyde Amendment for good.